A March for

I was walking back through central Lyon this afternoon and came upon a large demonstration wending its way through Republic square, waving Palestinian flags, and chanting or whistling in waving unison. I do not encounter demonstrations often, instinctively shying from them, and have never been on one. This was peaceable but you felt its anger, heard it in the chants of 'Israeli assassins  ' and on the waved posters that a had a bloody hand hovering over an image of Gaza.

The anger is wholly understandable - the systemic, structured violence of the Israeli state towards the Occupied Territories has now flared into hot brutality.

Meanwhile, this hot response is justified by Israel as being to meet the violence of Hamas rocket attacks and of other groups' terrorism.

Which came first is the eternal chicken and egg question to which in truth there is no answer. For which 'the Father of Lies' that is violence is heartily glad.

I watched the people pass and to my great surprise found myself actually weeping. I took myself away to a quiet side street, embarrassed, though no one had noticed and sat on a bollard and tried to fathom why.

The closest I could come was being assaulted by the sheer, overwhelming sadness of 'it' - the conflict itself, the continuous sorry fantasy that violence is ever, anywhere a solution to anything. The gap between who we are - the beautiful faces of each and every person marching past - and our self woven disfigurement out of fear, anger, hatred - our sin. And my own sense that there is everything still to do, to be, how little I have contributed to the world, how much more to pray for, work for. It was a strange, hallowing, harrowing moment, where the seriousness of the world presses in on you and makes a claim.


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